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Women senators: Don't raise speed limit to 75

The state Senate is likely to pass a bill this week that could increase the speed limit from 70 to 75 mph on certain Florida interstates, but it will be far from unanimous.

Several women senators in both parties are critical of the idea, calling it dangerous and an invitation to more car crashes. The opponents include Sens. Nancy Detert, R-Venice; Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville; Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange; Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa; Gwen Margolis, D-Aventura; Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood; and Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando.

"It's absurd," Gibson said at a Wednesday breakfast meeting of Senate Democrats, as the co-sponsor, Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, sat a few feet away.

"The bill basically allows the state Department of Transportation to set the speed limit, rather than politicians," Clemens said. "It bases the speed limit on science rather than on opinion."

Clemens and Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, filed the bill (SB 392) in the Senate. It would give DOT engineers the option to increase the "safe and advisable" speed limit to 75 on limited access interstates, including I-10 in North Florida, the Suncoast Parkway and parts of I-75, I-95, I-4 and Florida's Turnpike. Speed limits on other roads could rise from 60 to 65 and from 65 to 70.

Detert called it "crazy" to increase the speed limit to 75 in her southwest Florida district, which is bisected by I-75. "I'm against it because people always go 10 miles over, no matter what it is, so why up it? I don't see the point."

Clemens called it a "myth" that increasing speed limits results in more accidents. A Senate staff analysis of the bill says: "The Federal Highway Administration notes that 'the effects of speed on safety are complex and only partially known.' However, there is clear and convincing evidence that crash severity increases with individual vehicle speed. This finding is supported by theory and statistical analysis."

 

Comments

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ed jenkins

The citizens do not care for the opinions of a group known for its below standard driving ability and note that many drivers already travel at higher speeds than posted limits safely so there should be no issue with raising those arbitrary limits. In fact it will speed up those traveling at slower speeds to the same speed as the now current speeders making it safer for everyone.

Duke Ganote

Apparently those women senators don't know that rural interstates accounted for about 1% of Florida's traffic deaths in 2012. ONE PERCENT. Furthermore, as the Federal Highway Administration has stated, the "Interstate System actually has the best safety record of all roads and the lowest fatality rate per mile traveled... The speeding fatality rate for local roads is three times that for Interstates". THAT'S WHY WE BUILT THE INTERSTATE SYSTEM FROM SEA-TO-SHINING-SEA. Unless you're showboating or hunting revenue, it's clear that the FHP is better focused on risky locations and behaviors than 76-mph on rural interstates.

Justin Sane

I agree with my friend Ed Jenkins that women are below standard drivers and should not be given driver's licenses. They are busy fixing their hair, putting on lipstick and talking on their cell phones and not paying attention to driving and they also drive in the left lane at 30 mph, blocking the road for male drivers who are driving at 75 mph and whom the roads belong to.

Stephen

The 75 mph limit is safe.

Heck in FL when we went up to 70 OUR DEATH RATE DROPPED! http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/States/StatesFatalitiesFatalityRates.aspx

2.2 vmt in 1994 to 1.25 in 2011 (and 2010). (DESPITE HIGHER SPEED LIMITS and overall more traffic)

That is not hysterics, that is FACT. THE higher limits over the last 20 years has resulted in a DECREASE OF OUR DEATH RATE!

RAISE THE SPEED LIMIT!

James Walker

Unfortunately, Sen. Detert has no understanding of the science of traffic safety engineering or the actual behavior of drivers with realistic speed limits. Raising posted limits up to or toward the safest points does NOT raise actual travel speeds enough to matter. Sen. Detert said: "I'm against it because people always go 10 miles over, no matter what it is, so why up it? I don't see the point." With respect, Sen. Detert, this is flatly false.

Texas Highway 130 is posted at 85 mph, the highest posted limit in the USA. The actual 85th percentile speeds are 86.2 mph in one direction and 86.3 in the other.

Posted limits tend to be the safest when set at the actual, current 85th percentile speeds of free flowing traffic under good conditions to produce the smoothest and safest flow with the fewest crashes. On rural Florida Interstates, this would post the limits at 75 or 80, depending on the area and the ACTUAL current speeds today.

AAA opposes setting the safest speed limits because then speed traps and tickets for revenue become impossible to run and then AAA cannot surcharge the premiums of their safe driving policyholders who get speeding tickets for revenue in under-posted areas.

If you think speed traps for revenue are unfair, call your Representatives and Senators and urge them to support this good bill to permit FDOT to set 75 mph limits where appropriate.

James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

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